By Riva Preil
As a second born child as well as a pelvic floor physical therapist, I am fascinated by research involving the effects of multiple pregnancies and deliveries on the female pelvic floor. Women often sustain trauma to the pelvic floor muscles during delivery, especially with the first child. While it is commonly known that subsequent deliveries increase the risk of developing prolapse, it is unclear whether or not additional pregnancies contributed to pelvic floor trauma as first time pregnancies do. Fortunately, a recent study soon to be published in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology entitled “Pelvic Floor Trauma: Does the Second Baby Matter?” addresses this topic. In the study, ninety-four women presented after delivering their second child, on average 2.7 years after delivering their first baby. Sixty-five of the women delivered their second baby vaginally (nine of which were vaginal births after Cesarean, or VBAC), and the remaining twenty-nine women delivered via Cesarean section (C-section). Fortunately, the study revealed that an additional pregnancy and delivery did not significantly damage the pelvic floor muscles, nor did it harm bladder support. In addition, the method of delivery of the second child did not make a difference. So mommies can rest assured that having a second child does not place them at any greater risk for developing pelvic floor damage than their first delivery.
We here at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy treat women postpartum, whether they have just delivered their first, second, or even tenth child! If you or someone you know can benefit from pelvic floor strengthening and rehabilitation after the stressors of pregnancy, labor, and delivery, please call us for more information.